Healthcare analysts shed light on vaccine maker Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX), and Israeli biotech firm Can-Fite Biopharma Ltd (NYSE:CANF). Both companies are amid various trials for new medical vaccines and innovations. While analysts recommend holding off on purchasing Can-Fite, Novavax is generating a bullish outlook.
Analyst Keay Nakae, CFA Senior Research Analyst at Chardan Capital, has weighed in on Novavax, reiterating a Neutral rating and a 12-month price target of $5.75.
Latest in NVAX’s contributions to the field is the company’s potential to develop antigens for selected targets, specifically a treatment for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This treatment for RSV is the first to demonstrate effectiveness for any patient with the virus. In a Phase 2 clinical study recently, evaluating RSV in elderly adults, the vaccine achieved statistically significant benefit, which reduces the occurrence of infections by 41%. Due to this success, the RSV vaccine is now being evaluated in a Phase 3 trial for elderly adults, in a trial named RESOLVE. A positive result in Phase 3 trials would pave the way for a Biologic License Application (BLA) with the FDA in early 2017.
Nakae gives insight on the matter claiming, “RSV represents a large market opportunity, with an estimated target population in the U.S. of 98 million, so success in this patient population would represent a significant inflection point for this development stage company. That said, we believe this data readout will be a binary event, with unequivocal positive data likely driving significant appreciation in the stock from its current level, while a negative result would likely cause a significant decline in the stock price.”
The analyst mentions there are some risks still at hand in regards to the company’s progress, noting, “the most significant of these in our view is the clinical risk associated with the Phase 3 RSV study in elderly adults.” Nakae elaborates on the potential risks claiming, “Although the RESOLVE Phase 3 will enroll similar elderly patients, the primary endpoint in RESOLVE is different than that in the successful Phase 2 study.”
In light of these risks, the analyst notes that it may be best to wait before investing in the stock, commenting, “we would rather wait to buy NVAX at twice its current price, with this clinical risk eliminated, and what we believe would be the potential for further upside based on the increased validation of its technology platform.”
According to TipRanks, Nakae has a 27% success rate recommending stocks with a 28.8% average loss per rating. The overall consensus for NVAX is a Moderate Buy, with a current average price target of $15.50 and a 182.33% upside.
Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd
Last month, Can-Fite proposed its protocol for a Phase 3 study in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). If the protocol is approved, the RA trial could potentially begin enrolling patients within the next few months. The company is also currently finalizing its Phase 3 study in Psoriasis, which could begin enrolling patients in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Subsequently, H.C. Wainwright analyst Mark Breidenbach chimed in on CANF, maintaining a Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $6.00.
Can-Fite’s piclidenoson (CF101) programs still remain the primary value drivers for the company, according to the analyst. However, Breidenbach is confident other company resources may be starting to become more prominent. The latest A3AR modulator, CF602, which enhances the receptor activity in the presence of the native ligand, could complete IND (Investigational New Drug) according to the analyst. This would enable studies for treatment of erectile dysfunction as soon as by the end of this year.
Overall, the analyst notes, “We believe 2016 is shaping up to be an important year for Can-Fite’s other assets. For example, enrollment in a Phase 2 trial of CF102 in liver cancer is nearing completion, and we expect CF102 to enter a Phase 2 study in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in 2H16.”
According to TipRanks, Breidenbach has a 42% success rate recommending stocks and a 15.6% average loss per call. He is the only analyst who has recently covered the stock.